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Create a Multicultural Cookbook

Students will identify their favorite foods and conduct research to find recipes and learn about the history of those foods. After you have compiled the pages to create a multicultural cookbook, students will discuss how immigration has helped shape what Americans eat.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, review the article to examine the origins of hot dogs. Discuss how something invented and revised by various European immigrants has come to be recognized as a quintessential American food.
  2. Point out that hot dogs are not an isolated example. Many, if not most, of the foods they eat likely originated in other countries. After all, people have been eating for far longer than the United States has existed as a country. And, the typical American diet includes foods that come from many different cultures.
  3. Have students investigate the origins of a food they like to eat. Instruct them to find a recipe as well as detailed information about the food's history.
  4. Instruct students to compile the information they collected to create an informational page about each food. Encourage them to include photos, drawings and maps that help tell their foods' stories. Remind them not to forget to include the recipe.
  5. Combine students' work to create a multicultural cookbook for the class.

ASSESSMENT: 

Make copies of the finished cookbook. Give each student a copy to take home. If possible, encourage students to make their foods at home. Invite them to share their dishes in a class potluck meal. After the feast, invite students to share what they learned about the origins of their food. As a class, discuss how a history of immigration has helped shaped what Americans eat. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
Poll the class to identify students' five favorite foods. Divide the class into five groups. Have each group find a recipe and learn about the history of one of the selected foods. Encourage each group to create an informational page about its assigned food. Compile the pages to create a multicultural cookbook. 
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select three favorite foods. Monitor students' choices to make sure there are no repeats. Encourage them to investigate to find a recipe and learn about the history of each food. Then have groups create an informational page about each food. Compile the pages to create a multicultural cookbook. As you review the recipes, challenge students to identify the cultural roots of each type of food.
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct each partner to each identify his or her favorite food. Monitor students' choices to make sure there are no repeats. Encourage them to investigate to find a recipe and learn about the history of each food. Have pairs create an informational page about each food. Compile the pages to create a multicultural cookbook. As you review the recipes, challenge the class to identify where in the world most of students' favorite foods originated.
Grades 9-10:
Have students identify their favorite foods. Post a list of all selections. Then give the class time to investigate so they can find recipes and learn about the history of their selected foods. If any students are researching the same food, tell them to compare notes. They must have different recipes. Encourage each student to create an informational page about his or her food. Compile the pages to create a multicultural cookbook. As you review the recipes, challenge the class to identify the countries and cultures that had the biggest impact on what and how Americans eat.